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Phnom Kulen is considered by Khmers to be the most sacred mountain in Cambodia and is a popular place of pilgrimage during weekends and festivals.
Phnom Kulen is in Svay Leu and Varin district, about 60 kilometers from Siem Reap provincial town and 25 kilometers from Banteay Srei. Phnom Kulen, originally called Mount Mahendraparvata, is the mountain where, when King Jayavarman II (AD 802-850) proclaimed independence from Java in 802, the Angkorian Empire was born.
This mountain plateau served as the capital of the first Khmer Empire for more than half a century before it relocated south minor temples are found around the plateau, including Rorng Chen temple, the first pyramid built by an Angkorian King, but many of them are difficult to reach. Numerous important sites lie scattered across the mountaintop, which is accessible by foot or by car. They include:
Srah Damrey or the Elephant Pond is a collection of giant stone animals guarding this sacred mountain.
One thousand lingams are located on the top of the mountain, along Stung Siem Reap. The site features impressive riverbed rock carvings include innumerable scores of yoni and lingam that sit on the bottom of a stream from which water flows year round.
Chub Preah is a plain on the flank of the mountain. The cool water that flows between the rocks can refresh weary travelers before they continue their journey. Nearby is a large, rare Champa tree, 0.7 meters in diameter and 15 meters tall. The site also has a large Buddha statue and many small statues built in the 16th century.
Preah Ang Thom or Big Buddha
Preah Ang Thom is located on the mountaintop and attracts Khmer pilgrims during religious festivals. Built in the 16th century, it features a large statue of the reclining Buddha reaching nirvana. The statue is 7.5 meters tall and 8 meters long, carved into a huge sandstone boulder. The site also offers spectacular views across lush jungle. There are two Champa trees at the site, and local people worship there because they believe the site holds great power. Preah Ang Thom is close to Chhat Ruot, a multilayered umbrella; Preah Bat Coan Tuk, footprints of Buddha; and Peung Chhat, Peung Eyso and Peung Eysey, overhanging rocks.
Terrace of the Leper King
Terrance of the Leper King or Preah Learn Sdech Kunlung is a smooth, volcanic terrace. At the center of the terrace is a small brick temple that has been smashed to pieces. Based on the rocks they were found, scientists believe the site might have been a volcano millions of years ago.
Phnom Kulen – Waterfall
Phnom Kulen waterfall farther downstream, is a good spot to cool off after explorations. It has two levels. The first level is 4 to 6 meters high and 10 to 15 meters wide, depending on whether it is the dry or rainy season. The second level is 15 to 20 meters high and 6 to 8 meters wide, depending on the season. Near the waterfall is a small jungle-covered laterite temple called Kraol Remeas temple.
Kulen Mountain or Phnom Kulen is water fall at National Park 50km north of Siem Reap Phnom Kulen this is where the 500-year long Age of Angkor began, Phnom Kulen is the mountain on which JayavarmanII initiated the royal “god of the king “linga cult in 802AD, declaring a unified and independent Khmer Empire, Jayavarman II moved his capital from Phnom Kulen to the area near the modern town of Roluos GroupThere are several minor ruins at Phnom Kulen including hundreds of linga stands in the Siem Reap River. Waterfall and active pagoda. It’s bit over 50km each way from Siem Reap so set aside at least a half day for the trip there and back. Regular admission ticket is not required. There is a separate entrance fee of $20 forPhnom Kulen.
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